Red-hot 1B Posey shows off speed in win vs Cubs: 'Little faster than I thought'

Red-hot 1B Posey shows off speed in win vs Cubs: 'Little faster than I thought'

SAN FRANCISCO — As umpires back in New York replayed his stolen base over and over again, Buster Posey turned and watched it on the scoreboard at AT&T Park. He looked up at Javier Baez, the Fastest Tagger Alive.

“I think you got me,” Posey said. 

The umpires disagreed, and moments later Posey was racing around third for the final run of a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs. 

“It was really close,” Posey said of the play. “I guess I’m a little faster than I thought.”

When the margins are that thin, perhaps he benefits from the occasional position change. With Brandon Belt on the disabled list and a left-hander on the mound, Bruce Bochy shifted Posey to first and put Nick Hundley behind the plate. Posey had a three-run homer. Hundley had a double and guided Ty Blach through his latest strong start. 

Bochy was hesitant when asked if it’s a duo he’ll turn to more often. He would like to get Ryder Jones regular time at first base, with Pablo Sandoval at third. Posey is still the best defensive catcher in the National League, and the Giants won’t move him from his natural position often. 

The results, however, speak for themselves. Posey is batting .444 in 54 at-bats as a first baseman and .302 when he’s behind the plate. 

“It does give him a little break and keeps his legs fresher,” Bochy said.

Posey said there’s a fine line, but noted that first is “definitely less taxing.”

The Giants have always toed that line, and Bochy said he’ll check with Posey to see if he needs a day off Wednesday when the Giants play a day game. The next road trip — to Washington D.C. and Miami — promises to be a scorcher and the coaches will surely keep a close eye on their franchise catcher. 

Belt won’t even be cleared to travel, and as the Giants try to find momentum, maybe they can shift things around for a few weeks. Posey’s numbers at first stand out. Hundley, an offseason addition, is batting .357 over his last 18 games. 

The Giants need to develop Jones and they need to see what they have in Sandoval, but they also want to get that winning taste back, and the Posey-Hundley duo is a pretty good path, especially against lefties. 

“This is workable,” Bochy said. “It is.”

If he does get more time at first, Posey likely will break his modest career-high (six) for stolen bases. He’s perfect in five attempts this season, and he did not think it was a coincidence that good friend Brandon Crawford swiped his third a couple of minutes after Posey took his fifth. 

“Yes, yes, 100 percent (on purpose) — because I’ve already been talking smack,” Posey said. “And I told (Denard) Span that I’m tied with him, so he needs to step it up.”

Report: After missing out on Stanton, Giants 'will pursue' top free agents

Report: After missing out on Stanton, Giants 'will pursue' top free agents

The Giants really wanted reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. But they aren't getting him. Instead, he's reportedly headed to the Yankees.

So, with the Winter Meetings starting on Monday in Orlando, it appears the Giants will turn their attention to the free agent market to try to fill their needs.

According to The Boston Globe, the Giants "will pursue" top free agents J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier and Lorenzo Cain.

Martinez hit 45 home runs with the Tigers and D'backs during the 2017 season, but is expected to command a deal projected by to be in the six-year, $150 million range. He would fill the Giants' desperate need for power.

Moustakas would address the Giants' need for a third baseman, but there's a catch to signing him. He received and rejected the qualifying offer from the Royals, so any team that signs him would forfeit their second and fifth round picks plus $1 million in international pool money. The byproduct of finishing tied for the worst record in baseball during the 2017 season is that the Giants hold the No. 2 overall pick in each round of the 2018 MLB Draft next June, so they would be giving up two valuable draft picks if they sign a player that rejected a qualifying offer.

Frazier would be a cheaper third base option as opposed to Moustakas and he doesn't have the qualifying offer attached to him. He clubbed 27 home runs in 2017 with the White Sox and Yankees and had the fourth most Defensive Runs Saved (10) among all qualified third basemen in baseball.

Cain is the top center fielder on the free agent market and the Giants have made it clear improving their center field defense is a priority this winter. But just like his former Royals teammate Moustakas, Cain comes with the qualifying offer attached to him.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Winter Meetings coverage begins on Monday. Stay tuned for update from Alex Pavlovic and Amy G in Orlando.

Report: Yankees agree to deal to acquire Marlins' Stanton


Report: Yankees agree to deal to acquire Marlins' Stanton

MIAMI — After helping the New York Yankees to five World Series titles, Derek Jeter might help them win another.

The Yankees and Jeter’s Miami Marlins have agreed to a trade that would send slugger Giancarlo Stanton to New York, pending a physical, a person familiar with the negotiations said Saturday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the agreement.

Stanton has a no-trade clause in his record $325 million, 13-year contract and must approve the deal.

Infielder Starlin Castro would go to Miami as part of the trade, a second person familiar with the negotiations said. A third person said the Marlins would agree to send $30 million to $35 million to the Yankees.

The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants said Friday that Stanton had vetoed deals to them, but he has appeared willing to approve going to New York. As for the physical, injuries curtailed Stanton’s season four of the past six years, but he played 159 games in 2017.

If the Yankees complete the trade with a team run by their former captain, the new Marlins CEO, the Bronx Bombers would acquire a slugger who hit a major league-high 59 home runs last season and pair him with Aaron Judge, who led the AL with 52 in his rookie season. That would give them a one-two punch to rival Ruth-Gehrig or Mantle-Maris.

The acquisition of the 28-year-old Stanton would be reminiscent of the Yankees’ trade for Alex Rodriguez after his MVP season with Texas in 2003. Rodriguez signed a $275, 10-year contract after the 2007 season that ran through age 42; Stanton’s deal runs through age 38.

An eight-year veteran with 267 home runs, Stanton has never played on a winning team, and might now go to a perennial title contender. The Yankees reached Game 7 of the AL Championship Series this season in the first full year of a youth movement.

Yankees prospects would likely be involved in any deal. Gary Denbo, the Marlins new vice president of scouting and player development, spent the past eight years with New York and oversaw a farm system that ranks among the best in baseball.

Stanton is owed $295 million over the final decade of his record $325 million, 13-year contract. The All-Star right fielder led the majors in homers and RBIs, but his salary will rise to $25 million in 2018, which made him too pricey for the revenue-starved Marlins to keep.

Jeter is expected to reduce payroll by at least 20 percent to $90 million or less. The Marlins shed $38 million of salary through 2020 by trading two-time All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday for three prospects.

Castro, who hit .300 with 16 home runs this year, could replace Gordon at second baseman — or might also be dealt by Miami because of his contract. He’s due $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019, with a club option of $16 million in the final year of his contract in 2020.

More Marlins deals are possible at the winter meetings beginning Sunday in Orlando, Florida, with Castro and outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna possibly on the trading block.

The Yankees’ payroll for purposes of baseball’s luxury tax was about $209 million this year, and owner Hal Steinbrenner has vowed to reduce it below next year’s $197 million threshold, which would reset the team’s base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent in 2019. That would put the Yankees in better position for next offseason’s free agent class, which includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw.

Stanton counts as $25.05 million for purposes of the luxury tax, but trading Castro cuts New York’s tax payroll by $8,801,786. Rodriguez ($27.5 million) comes off the payroll after this season, and five high-priced Yankees have become free agents.

Stanton has the right to opt out of his contract and become a free agent after receiving $77 million over next three seasons.

Stanton would take a cut in take-home pay for his games in the Bronx. While Florida has no state income tax, New York State has an 8.82 percent top rate on income and New York City a 3.876 percent top rate. But he might make up the difference in new endorsements.